Complete WAEC Syllabus for Biology 2023, Recommended Books, and Topics

The WAEC Biology syllabus outlines the material that candidates need to be familiar with in order to be eligible for the exam. The aims, objectives, notes, and structure for the Biology test are all included in one document.

The preparation for the test requires that you familiarize yourself with the Biology curriculum. You can use it as a reference to find out what kinds of things you should read about. In addition, there are some notes on different ideas that you ought to focus on mastering.

Attempting to study for the exam without consulting the Biology curriculum is like to working on a field without the necessary agricultural equipment. You will find that you are unable to accomplish anything.

Make using the syllabus the first thing you do when getting ready for the exam.

The West African Examination Council (WAEC) textbooks that are suggested may be found in this site, which also includes the Biology syllabus.

If you have any queries, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. I am quite interested in your response.

WAEC Biology Syllabus

Here is the WAEC Biology syllabus for Science students;

This examination syllabus is divided into three sections:

Sections A
Section B
Section C
Section A is for all candidates
Section B is for candidates in Ghana only
Section C is for candidates in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Liberia.
Aims and Objectives
This syllabus is designed to assess candidates’

Understanding the structure and functions of living organisms and an appreciation of nature.
Acquisition of adequate laboratory and field skills to carry out and evaluate experiments and projects in Biology.
Acquisition of necessary scientific skills, for example, observing, classifying and interpreting biological data.
Acquisition of the basic relevant knowledge in Biology needed for future advanced studies in biological sciences.
Acquisition of scientific attitudes for problem-solving.
Ability to apply biological principles in everyday life in matters that affect.
personal, social, environmental, community health and economic problems.
Awareness of the existence of interrelationships between biology and other scientific disciplines.
Scheme of Examination
There will be three papers:

Paper 1
Paper 2
Paper 3
All papers must be taken. Papers 1 and 2 will be composite papers to be taken in one sitting.

Paper 1
It will consist of fifty multiple-choice objective questions drawn from Section A of the syllabus (the section of the syllabus which is common to all countries).

It will carry 50 marks and last for 50 minutes.

Paper 2
Will consist of six essay questions drawn from the entire syllabus.

The paper will be divided into sections A, B and C.

Section A
It will consist of four questions drawn from Section A of the syllabus.

Section B
It will be for candidates in Ghana only and will be drawn from Section B of the syllabus (i.e. the section of the syllabus peculiar to Ghana).

It will consist of short-structured questions.

Section C
It will be for Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Liberia candidates. It will be drawn from Section C of the syllabus (i.e. the section of the syllabus containing material for those countries only).

It will also consist of short-structured questions.

Candidates will be expected to answer two questions from Section A and all the short-structured questions from either Section B or Section C.

Each question in Section A will carry 20 marks, while the compulsory short-structured questions in Sections B and C will carry 30 marks. The total score will be 70 marks.

The paper shall take 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Paper 3
Will be a practical test (for school candidates) or a test of practical work (for private candidates) lasting 2 hours and consisting of sections A, B and C.

Section A
This will consist of two compulsory questions drawn from Section A of the syllabus, each carrying 25 marks.

Section B
This will be for candidates in Ghana only.

It will consist of one question from Section B of the syllabus and will carry 30 marks.

Section C
This will be for Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Liberia candidates.

It will consist of one question from Section C of the syllabus and will carry 30 marks.

Candidates will be expected to answer all the questions in Section A and one in either Section B or C.

The paper will carry a total score of 80 marks.

Biology Syllabus Topics

Section A

Concept of Living
Living and non-living things
Classification of living things into Kingdoms: Monera, Protoctista (Protista), Fungi, Plantae, Animalia.
Differences between plants and animals
Organization of Life
Cell (single-celled organisms): Amoeba, Euglena, Paramecium
Tissue: Hydra
Organ (storage
organ) bulb, rhizome and heart.
System/Organ System: In mammals, flowering plants – reproductive system, excretory system etc.
The complexity of organization in higher organisms: advantages and disadvantages.
Forms in which living cells exist
Single and free-living: Amoeba, Paramecium, Euglena, and Chlamydomonas
Colony: Volvox
Filament: Spirogyra
Part of a living organism: Cheek cells, onion root tip cells and epidermis of fleshy leaves.
Cell structure and functions of cell components
Similarities and differences between plant and animal cells
The Cell and its environment: Physical and Biophysical processes; (a) diffusion (b) osmosis (c) active transport
Properties and functions of the living cell; (a) Nutrition (i) Autotrophic (photosynthesis) (ii) Heterotrophic (holozoic)
Cellular Respiration
Definition and processes of:

aerobic respiration
anaerobic respiration
energy release
Excretion in single-celled aquatic organisms. Diffusion by body surface and by the contractile vacuole.
Waste products of metabolism
Basis of growth – cell division (mitosis), enlargement and differentiation.
Aspects of growth: Increase in dry weight, irreversible increase in size and length and increase in the number of cells
Regions of the fastest growth in plants
Influence of growth hormones and auxins
Growth curvatures (Tropisms)
Development: Enlargement and differentiation
Organelles for movement: cilia and flagella
Reproduction: Types of reproduction.
Asexual: fission, budding and vegetative propagation.
Sexual: Conjugation, formation of male and female gametes (gametogenesis), a fusion of gametes fertilization)
Skeleton and supporting systems in animals
Biological significance.

Skeletal materials, e.g. bone
Cartilage and chitin
Types of skeleton
The exoskeleton, endoskeleton and hydrostatic skeleton.
Bones of the vertebral
Column, girdles and long bones of the appendicular skeleton.
Mechanism of support in animals.
Functions of the skeleton in animals: Protection, support, locomotion and respiratory movement.
Different types of supporting tissues in plants
Main features of supporting tissues in plants
Functions of supporting tissues in plants: strength, rigidity (resistance against the forces of the wind and water), flexibility and resilience
Transport System
Need for transport
surface area/volume ratio
substances have to move greater distances.
Transport in animals
Structure of the heart, arteries, veins and capillaries.
Composition and function of blood and lymph.
Materials for transport: excretory products, gases, digested food, and other nutrients
Transport in plants
Uptake and movement of water and mineral salts in plants.
Movement of water to the apex of trees and herbs
Respiratory System
Body surface: cutaneous, gills and lungs
Mechanisms of gaseous exchange in fish, toads, mammals and plants
Excretory Systems
Excretory Systems and Mechanisms
Types of excretory systems: Kidney, stomata and lenticels
Characteristics of excretory organs in these systems should be studied.
Candidates should observe, draw and label the excretory organs of a small mammal (e.g. rat).
Explanation of the concept of excretion in plants. Excretory products of plants (water, carbon dioxide, oxygen, alkaloids, tannins, gums, resins and acids) should be mentioned.
Regulation of Internal Environment (Homeostasis)
Kidney: Structure and functions
Functions of the liver
The skin: Structure and function
Hormonal Coordination
Animal hormones: Site of secretion, functions and effects of over and under-secretion
Plant hormones
Nervous Coordination
The central nervous system
Components of the central nervous system

Parts of the brain and their functions; cerebrum, cerebellum, medulla oblongata, hypothalamus and their functions
Structure and function of the Spinal Cord.
Peripheral Nervous System.
Somatic Nervous System
Autonomic nervous system
Structure and functions of the neurone
Classification of neurones
Types of nervous actions
The reflex arc
Reflex and voluntary actions
Differences between reflex and voluntary actions.
Conditioned reflex and its role in the behaviour
Sense Organs
Structure and function of the
The reproductive system of mammals
(iv) Kinds of placentation: axile, marginal
and parietal.

The reproductive system of mammals
Structure and function of male and female reproductive systems.
Differences between male and female reproductive organs.
Structure of the gametes (sperm and ovum)
Fertilization, development of the embryo and birth.
Birth control
Metamorphosis in insects, life histories of butterfly and cockroach
Comparison of reproduction in fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammal
Reproduction in flowering plants
Arrangements of floral parts of a named insect-pollinated flower and a named wind-pollinated flower.
Structure and function of the male and female parts of a flower.
Pollination in Plants
Types of pollination
Features of cross-pollinated and self-pollinated flowers
Agents of Pollination
Process of development of zygote in flowering plants
Types of fruits (classification).

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Structure of fruits
Dispersal of fruits and seeds: Agents of dispersal
Plant and Animal Nutrition
Plant Nutrition
Process of photosynthesis and its chemical equation
Light and dark reactions
Materials and conditions necessary for photosynthesis
Evidence of photosynthesis
Mineral requirement of plants
Mineral nutrition: Macro and micro-nutrients
Soil and atmosphere as sources of mineral elements
Animal Nutrition
Food substances; classes and sources
A balanced diet and its importance
Digestive enzymes: Classes, characteristics and functions
Modes of Nutrition
Autotrophic: Photosynthesis,
Heterotrophic: holozoic, parasitic, symbiotic and saprophytic
Alimentary System: Alimentary tract of different animals
Dental Formula
Feeding in protozoa and mammals
Basic Ecological Concepts
Ecosystem: Components of the ecosystem and sizes
Ecological components: environment, biosphere, habitat, population, biotic community and ecosystem
Components of the ecosystem: Biotic and abiotic
Ecological factors: Ecological factors in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
Simple Measurement of Ecological Factors.
Physical factors: Climatic, topographic and gaseous.
Edaphic factors: Chemical and physical composition, moisture content and soil texture
Food webs and trophic levels
Autotrophs and Heterotrophs
Producers: autotrophs
Consumers: heterotrophs
The trophic levels energy relationship
Food chain
Food web
Energy flow
Food/Energy relationship in the aquatic and terrestrial environment.
Pyramid of energy and the Pyramid of numbers.
Decomposition in nature
Decomposers: (micro and macro-decomposers)
Gaseous products
Role of decomposers
Ecological Management:
Biological Associations
Type of associations: Parasitism, symbiosis, commensalism and saprophytism.
Adaptation of organisms to habitats.
Pollution of the atmosphere
Nature, names, sources and effects of air pollutants
Effect of noise
Water and Soil Pollution
Type and effects of pollutants


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Ecology of population
Ecological succession
Structural changes in species composition, variety or diversity and increase in numbers.
General characteristics and outcomes of succession
Primary succession
Succession in terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
Secondary succession, the climax of the succession: characteristic of a stable ecosystem
Factors that affect the population size: natality, mortality, emigration, immigration, food shortage, predation, competition and diseases.
Preservation and storage of foods
The life of selected insects;
Weevils and cotton strainers
Control of pests
Microorganisms: Man and health
Carriers of microorganisms
Microorganisms in action
Beneficial effects in nature, medicine and industries.
Harmful effects of micro-organisms, diseases caused by microorganisms: cholera, measles, malaria and ringworm.
Towards Better Health
Methods of .controlling harmful microorganisms: high temperature, antibiotics, antiseptics, high salinity and dehydration.
Ways of controlling the vectors
Public Health: The importance of the following towards the maintenance of good health practices:
Refuse and sewage disposal.
Immunization, vaccination and inoculation (control of diseases)
Conservation of Natural Resources
. Resources to be conserved: soil, water, wildlife, forest and minerals.
Ways of ensuring conservation
Variation in Population
Morphological variations in the physical appearance of individuals
size, height and weight
colour (skin, eye, hair coat of animals)
Physiological Variations
Ability to roll tongue
Ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC)
Blood groups (ABO) classification)
Biology of Heredity (Genetics)
Genetic terminologies
Transmission and expression of characteristics in organisms.
Hereditary variation
Mendel’s work in genetics
Mendel’s experiments
Mendelian traits
Mendelian laws
Chromosomes: The basis of heredity
Process of transmission of hereditary characters from parents to offspring.
Probability in genetics (Hybrid formation).
Linkage, sex determination and sex-linked characters.
Application of the principles of heredity in:
Adaptation for Survival and Evolution
Behavioural Adaptations in Social Animals.
Evidence of evolution
Theories of evolution

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WAEC Biology Textbooks

List of WAEC recommended textbooks for Biology;

Ndu, F.O. C. Ndu, Abun A. and Aina J.O. (2001) Senior Secondary School Biology: Books 1 -3, Lagos: Longman.
Odunfa, S.A. (2001) Essential of Biology, Ibadan: Heinemann.
Ogunniyi M.B. Adebisi A.A. and Okojie J.A. (2000) Biology for Senior Secondary Schools: Books 1 – 3, Macmillan.
Ramalingam, S.T. (2005) Modern Biology, SS Science Series. New Edition, AFP
Stan. (2004) Biology for Senior Secondary Schools. Revised Edition, Ibadan: Heinemann
Stone R.H. and Cozens, A.B.C. (1982) Biology for West African Schools. Longman
Usua, E.J. (1997) Handbook of practical Biology 2nd Edition, University Press, Limited


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